The TomTom Via 52 is an interesting proposition from TomTom. It’s a sat nav that offers many of the same features as its more expensive rivals, but at a price that’s not going to break the bank.
It manages this by utilising the one thing that most of us have on us all of the time: a smartphone.
Using your phone’s data, it will provide real-time updates to your sat nav – whether this is traffic information, road changes or speed camera positioning, it gets this information from your phone.
That’s not all it will do with your phone, either. It also has Bluetooth connectivity, so it can be used as a hands-free kit – handy if your car doesn’t offer this functionality.
But what is it like a straightforward sat nav? The answer is: really good.
The TomTom Via 52 has a 5-inch screen which, for us, is a perfect size for a sat nav. In TomTom terms, the Via range is slap-bang in the middle of what the company offers.
It’s a step above the Start models, which are limited in their data functionality by not offering traffic, and cheaper than the Go offerings as that range has its own data connection built in.
Design-wise, it doesn’t make too much difference. The Via 52 measures: 14.45 x 9.05 x 2.38 and weighs 209g. There is also a TomTom Via 62 option which is unsurprisingly 6 inches in size and offers exactly the same functionality.
The screen is decent enough, even in bright sunlight – at 480 x 272 pixels – and even though it’s resistive (ugh), we had no issues at all with delay or fumbling when jumping through menus. It does mean that you will have to do actual tapping on the screen for things such as zooming in and out, though, which feels a little archaic.
If you are looking for something that’s more slender and, well, looks like your phone, you will be disappointed. Sat navs are still devices that belong on a mount and not in a pocket.
Speaking of mounts, the one supplied with the Via 52 is ‘okay’. It’s reversible so if you are one of those that don’t want to stick something to their window screen, you can flip reverse and it will mount to a dash. It did take some work to change switch the mount connector on the back.
It looked like it should click nicely in place. And it did, but only after numerous attempts. The mount uses a sucker. If you were to upgrade to a TomTom Go, then you are given a magnetic mount – something that’s a whole lot easier to use.
Obviously, the mount is by no means a deal breaker and once we mastered it, and kept it on the windscreen, we didn’t have any more issues with it.